What International Women's Day means to us

This year, the International Women's Day theme is #EmbraceEquity, Why equal opportunities aren't enough. In celebration of the women we know, we work with and we are, we've asked a handful of the Bright Space Communications team for their IWD reflections.

Much has changed in agency land since the days reminiscent to Mad Men. The chorus of tapping fingers on typewriters was replaced by reams of fax paper spilling onto the carpet, and not long after, dial-up internet singing its slow burning tune. Each trumping its predecessor with equal technological measure.  

Culturally, things have changed (almost) beyond recognition too. But there's still "room for improvement" marked in red on the report card for gender equity in the workplace.  

This year, the International Women's Day theme is #EmbraceEquity, Why equal opportunities aren't enough. In celebration of the women we know, we work with and we are, we've asked a handful of the Bright Space Communications team for their IWD reflections.  

1. What does IWD mean to you?

"I always feel conflicted about IWD. In the past I have struggled with how companies use IWD to promote their female employees, it can feel a little patronising if I’m honest. But on a global platform remembering to acknowledge, celebrate, learn and understand the changing landscape for women and how we can still work harder to encourage more equality and access to resources to improve not just their lives but those of their children too." - Ingrid Brown

Bringing recognition to the many incredible achievements by women. Whilst gender equality is improving there is still some way to go and I look to the Gen Zs to change attitudes because they’ve been taught from childhood that girls can achieve just as much as boys. There are not boys’ colours and girls’ colours or boys’ jobs and girls’ jobs but everything is open to them. - Jo Nelson

2. What is your IWD pledge this year?

We Will Try To Influence Others’ Beliefs And Actions. - Ingrid Brown

I Will Celebrate Women's Achievements - Nada Zbirek

I Will Celebrate Women's Achievements - Jo Nelson

I Will Call Out Gendered Actions Or Assumptions - Georgia Maher

3. This year's theme is #EmbraceEquity: why equal opportunities aren't enough. How do you reflect on this?

"This year’s theme resonates because being equitable for me is to be inclusive and to always recognise how I can help someone achieve their best. Equal outcomes for me are based on being equitable, everyone deserves to be heard, to be encouraged, to be included and more importantly recognised and appreciated." - Ingrid Brown

"Women have always struggled to justify to themselves for more pay, more promotions. We need to change why women continue to justify our true value and worth in the workplace when men have often seen it as a given right." - Jo Nelson

"Being conscious of others’ backgrounds and situations. We all have a different starting line in life and we need to actively recognise this." - Georgia Maher

4. What woman's work are you admiring at the moment?

"In my mind I just admire what’s good and great and this isn’t gender related. I welcome the drive and commitment of younger generations that believe in an equitable approach, I look forward to seeing if this leads to more equal outcomes for everyone." - Ingrid Brown

"I really admire how Jacinda Ardern dared to lead with her authentic self and how she was brave and honest enough to admit she wasn't able to commit to another four years. She embodies honesty, integrity and leadership." - Nada Zbirek

"My 12-year-old daughter’s.  Her school celebrates incredible women and every school house is named after one. She belongs to jewel house, in recognition of Jewel Plummer Cobb, the American biologist and cancer researcher." - Jo Nelson

5. Best piece of advice you've been given about breaking the bias?

"This is a tricky one for me and probably many women from my generation who have grown up surrounded by bias (consciously or unconsciously learned), in some instances it felt covert and in others, very overtly present. Unfortunately, a lot of the advice I received from women and men was to learn how to navigate around it, not to be seen to challenge it out of fear of being marginalised or put in the “too hard” basket for challenging unfair and biased actions.

If I was going to reference one woman it would be my Mother. From a generation where equal opportunities were not available to her, she advised both her daughters to achieve an education and to strive to be financially independent believing this would allow us some of the choices and opportunities she missed out on." - Ingrid Brown

"There’s room at the top for everyone. Often when working in female-dominated environments it can get quite competitive. We can all reach our full potential without tearing our fellow female colleagues down." - Georgia Maher

6. What are small things you do in your day to day that you hope make a big difference to breaking the bias?

"I’m a natural campaigner and will always champion and encourage those around me to be the best versions of themselves, no matter what gender. In my professional role now, I feel I can sometimes help bridge the gap when working with executive teams to build out a narrative and align a culture that is inclusive, that creates values to guide and monitor the right behaviours. The successful companies and leaders I work with see the value in driving equitable cultures in their businesses." - Ingrid Brown

"Doing my best, being authentic and true to myself and supporting other women." - Nada Zbirek

"Showing my girls that it’s not ok to expect ‘mum’ to do all the chores when I work too. Dad is very capable and I hope their generation changes these ideas of domestic roles that still exist today." - Jo Nelson

7. Advice for yourself in the early throws of your career?

"In the early throws of my career, if I can remember...

Campaign for fairness for everyone

Listen and respect all points of view

Demonstrate empathy

Be open to learning and share knowledge

Show appreciation and acknowledge everyone’s contribution" - Ingrid Brown

"You have to work hard to prove yourself to be taken seriously, but actually it’s not hard to be better than the men." - Jo Nelson

"Find your purpose and don't take on anyone else's crap!" - Nada Zbirek

"Comparison is the thief of joy." - Georgia Maher


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